Police have moved in to curb illegal gambling activities done through the use of unlicensed machines, saying such activities were behind a spate of crimes of concern and money laundering.
Some of these crimes of concern include murder, robberies, domestic violence and assault.
The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage through the Lotteries and Gaming Board and the police yesterday destroyed some of the exhibits of illegal gambling (slot machines) in Harare following the arrests and conviction of the people who had been using them.
Speaking during the event, Lotteries and Gaming Board interim secretary Dr Misheck Chingozha said illegal gaming was not good news to legitimate operators and the authorities.
“Legitimate gambling is a pillar to society and Government revenue streams,” he said. “Leakages that come with illegal gaming are then not only evil, but destructive to both the socio-economic fibre and standing of a nation.
“For that reason, we need the missionary zeal to flash it out.”
Dr Chingozha said there was need for the people and communities to assist the police in curbing gambling activities.
“There is no fairness that comes with smuggling unapproved gambling devices that have no integrity and to that our position is clear,” he said.
“We will descend heavily on such errant citizens who seek to cause unnecessary haemorrhage to our economy, promote money laundering and deflate all efforts towards the attainment of the 2030 National Vision.
“We have a role towards attainment of the upper middle income status as espoused by the Head of State. Any illegality that derails efforts towards attainment of our national priorities is thus condemned. We say NO, put the right foot down and ensure perpetrators are dealt with, no matter who they are or their status in life.”
Dr Chingozha said they inevitably need sufficient calories of interest and commitment to come together and destroy all mechanisms and criminal tendencies within the gaming industry.
“The attitude to deal effectively with illegality within our industry is about all of us – the operators, the regulator, law enforcement and indeed the players, who need a fair return to player,” he said.
“If we do not reconfigure, realign our attitude, we will choke off all prospects for sustainable economic growth. We will fail to improve the livelihoods of our people at a critical moment when the Head of State is advancing the need not to leave anyone behind.”
Superintendent Munyaradzi Tundu from the ZRP Harare Crime Prevention Office said gambling was “an old-age cancer” that had direct and indirect consequences to the well-being of every Zimbabwean.
“It is sad and worth condemnation to behold how illegal gambling has been perpetuating crimes such as murders, robberies, domestic violence and assaults to mention a few,” he said.
“It is worrisome how illegal gambling is poking its ugly nose into our youngsters who happen to be our future hope.”
An official from the Casino Operators Association Mr Marlvin Ndlovu said most of the places where gambling activities took place were not inspected and were a good source of criminal activities. Herald.